Friday, 23 December 2011

Is there really a Father Christmas????


My daughter asked me the big question today...

Is there really a Father Christmas? Now this is a tricky question for adults, so I word my reply in a way to keep her thinking about what she as just asked me. If there is no Father Christmas where did the idea come from? I send her away hoping that my reply will keep her busy, but no. My seven year old daughter is not daft.

‘Daddy lifted the mattress up and I looked under your bed and saw loads of presents. Who are they for? Daddy thought I did not see them, but I did.’

I send her away with the usual excuse of mummy is busy.

Later that day I give my husband an ear bashing. He said but you did not tell me they were hidden under my side of the bed. My reply, it is the same place every year because there is nowhere else to hide them Doh!

So the big mystery may have been solved, but I still took her to see the ‘Winter Wonderland’ at Hyde Park. My daughter sat near Father Christmas and told him what she would like for Christmas. As we walked away she said ‘He looked like the real Father Christmas, but I know he is not. He has loads of helpers that dress up as him.’ My reply was quick. ‘Yes but the helpers’ report back to Father Christmas so you had better watch it.’









Saturday, 10 December 2011

I Have Found a Happy Medium

Dressing up is so much fun...

If I look back over the last two years I can honestly say I never thought I would be doing what I am doing now. The acting thing has really taken off and I have had to turn down two paid jobs this week due to clashes with other commitments. It has shocked me with the response considering how many actors are out there without work. Even when chatting with other people about the work I have done so far without even trying and listening to their stories surprises me. As a friend recently said don’t complain just keep going because you must be doing something right.

My New Year wish is to get a small part in a period drama, but recently a big feature film has shown interest and requested a CV.

And I am almost ready for Christmas only a few bits to complete.

Anyone for a slice of cake......


Saturday, 12 November 2011

Mr Bellringer How Dare You!!!!


Sometimes I ask myself why people even bother sharing their opinion on national television, especially on such a sensitive subject such as cancer. A friend mentioned a program called ‘My Transsexual Summer’ and how she was extremely angry with a statement a plastic surgeon had made.

Quote from Gender Reassignment Surgeon James Bellringer at Charing Cross:

‘We often get criticised why are we doing this operation which is cosmetic not life saving. But actually if you look at it as terms of quality of life we probably have the best operation there is.’

‘These patients before the operation are miserable, so an operation which theoretically cost £10,000 is delivering forty years of very much improved quality of life. There is no cancer operation that delivers that much.’

Mr Bellringer how dare you compare transgender and cancer patients by using survival statistics and cost. I had my mastectomy on Riverside wing at Charing Cross and whilst I sympathise with what transgender patients have to go through you cannot compare the realities of the two. My journey with cancer has left its scars both physically and mentally. I did not ask for cancer, just like your £10,000 a pop transgender patients did not ask to be one sex or the other. Your arrogant remark has yet deepened an already sensitive subject, especially when the NHS is already questioning whether certain medications should be used due to cost mounting on cancer treatment.

At first I thought maybe my friend might have heard wrong, but after watching this program myself I can see how the isms of cancer have struck again and created controversy.

I cannot believe the audacity of this a so called surgeon insinuating on national television that cancer life saving treatment is wasted money and then hides behind quality of life to validate that point. He is not an oncologist, but a urological surgeon and what would he know. I am personally saddened by this surgeon’s total disregard of what this surgery really means to a cancer patient. After all it affects 1-3 in a lifetime and you cannot pick who it will strike. And I know damn well the finger was pointing towards breast cancer because he is a plastic surgeon.

Mr Bellringer makes his appearance 42 minutes into the episode.

About Mr James Bellringer

An apology is needed MR JAMES BELLRINGER!!!!!!



Sunday, 6 November 2011

A cuddle and a Painting


It is strange how in one day a total stranger can give you more cuddles in five minutes, than your husband has given you in one whole year. I am not the type of person, who allows strangers to cuddle me, but this individual just burst forth with arms like an octopus and it felt genuine. It was not out of pity even though the conversation did surround cancer and the use of woolly hats. It was more a hug of hope, that somehow there is light at the end of this dark tunnel. The word sorry was not mentioned or at least I can’t remember it. The conversation was funny, witty, warm and natural, but I will never see this person again. Yet it felt like an old friend who was playing catch up.  

Also today I and Sophia went to The ‘Arthur Christmas’ World Premiere. We managed to get tickets to see the film inside which was an early 7th birthday present for Sophia. On Sophia’s 7th birthday I will be getting my nipple tattoo or the start of it. I have already said I don’t want to see them doing it. It has nothing to do with the tattoo itself, but more to do with the sensation. If I don’t see I won’t panic and the job will get done with zero drama. All I want is a curtain and someone to chat too and I’m happy.

Breakthrough Breast Cancer has asked me to sign a release form for images taken at the modelling slot I did at the hospital. And I completed a painting I did of my father in law at my art therapy class at ‘The Maggie Centre’.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Circus of Cancer Land...


An individual is only as needy as you choose to percieve them...

The words ‘Sarah you look gorgeous and you are so brave’ do not ring true somehow. I never heard the words gorgeous or brave before having cancer, so why do individuals insist on saying it now?
The fact that I can strip off in plain view, so people see the reality not fiction of having a mastectomy is me sticking two fingers up at this disease. I personally like defying the bullshit society is focused in on. I do not want to be seen as a hospital number or statistic, but an individual who has feelings and a voice. So what does gorgeous or brave really mean in BC land? For a forty something it means nothing, but a nod and not so convincing smile of acknowledgement.

Cancer land and the way people view me on my journey is not a reality I mapped out. Even the ‘Oh I’m so sorry’ bunch of people sat in the wings ready to pounce. But for me it is a every day occurence of BC. As quick as that word is regurgitated in my presence I quickly say, ‘What are you sorry about? That I am actually still here talking...’ The pause in their reply is so long and laughable.

I should carry a swear word box around with me so every time that word is mentioned people have to donate a pound for the ‘Sorry I Have Cancer Appeal!’ And the fact that people always say sorry for saying sorry will mean it will double. Oh does that sound sarcastic, maybe funny, well hell yes it is suppose to be because there is truth in those words that’s why it is funny. How many times have you said sorry lately, plenty I bet.

I woke up and realised that cancer does not take humour away, but the individuals that keep saying sorry do, so don’t say bloody sorry in my presence, but then again I will not have that pound hmm, bloody say sorry I dare you... that’s the Yorkshire blood counting the pennies...

Another annoyance that I have come across is every time I take my freaking bra off someone says ‘Oh that is a good job’ Like it is a work of art and I am unaware of the fact my breast has been mutilated. My mastectomy or imposter sits proud and loud while I look down thinking really. I mean is my mastectomy really that good? Or is it just a bunch of people lying their arses off to save face, when really they would like to say jeez who butchered you.
I mean it happened in the playground, so why can’t it happen in a hospital environment with adults. What should I be chuffed as a chimp being viewed within a cage at having such a lovely lump of silicone and back muscle?
At times I feel I am a clown within the circus of cancer land. That I over compensate with humour to hide the anger of individuals reactions. I know I am confidant, but some days that confidence is lacking and I actually feel like punching someone which is normal considering. Ok, so my grumble done till next week.......


Sunday, 30 October 2011

The Real ism's of Cancer Land


Currently I sit and wonder if I am accepting or in denial. Am I putting up an elaborate front to hide my real anger to the ism's of cancer? My replies have become so methodical without emotion; it’s as if I thrive on keeping my true anger at bay. I am playing a game of knackering myself out so I forget, but I am unsure of which bit.  Like I said to a friend, ‘I once was an empty cup with zero info to becoming a cup that overflows with attitude to boot.’ The individual I once was, who would shy away from the camera now could not give a toss. I am, who I am, but what do I honestly want to achieve.

My hospital is trying to make the breast care unit more BC patient friendly. It was during the mastectomy wear modelling slot I did for my hospital on Friday that all this became apparent. The unit is looking a little worn and torn, so they are looking at ways of raising the cash to improve this problem. Again I have noted the pressure is being applied on BC patients to make people more aware. The two areas the hospital wants to improve on in the breast care unit are waiting and comfort. These two areas were brought to the attention of the hospital via a questionnaire sent out to patients.

1.    The BC patients would like a bleeper system so BC patients do not have to remain in the breast care clinic. It would give patients the freedom to sit in a cafe on the hospital grounds or just simply stretch their legs. The bleepers which will be handed out at the reception area are such a brilliant idea. I already know this idea is being used in several hospitals in various departments, so it is viable.

2.    The chairs on the unit need replacing, and the decor on the unit needs revamping.

3.    Refreshments are another area BC patients say need addressing, but the bleeper system would illuminate this problem.  

I do have a few ideas that could be used to raise cash, but it is whether these ideas are practical for their purpose.

When speaking to the breast care team at the hospital I noted it is very much in its infancy. They want to do everything through the patients and their interaction with them in hope they have a networking system, but it could end up with the same glitches that other organisations face in this current climate. I tried to explain that if they want to make an impact on what they are trying to achieve they need to climb out of the BC box. It seems much focused on breast cancer patients being pro active to achieve the monies to be raised, and sometimes those people just want to forget the journey they are on or are financially already over stretched.

I have been told time and time again as a BC patient to move forward, but the reliance of a patients feedback or interaction means that sentence is nil and void. This is only my observation on the whole journey of being a BC patient, that some sentences that are used actually should be dropped or rewritten into something more realistic to the journey of BC. It is not realistic to say move on, not when your living through the trauma of breast cancer twenty four plus.

I took my youngest daughter to an art class for families on Saturday. This was nice because normally these events are strictly set out as non children friendly. It gives Sophia a chance to interact with people I know and I can sit back. Sophia was the only child present and the organiser said she could invite her friends along if she wanted next time, but truth be known I would not even attempt to ask anyone. Who would actually want me to take their child into a place that focuses on cancer especially when it does not affect them?

I explained I’d sooner keep this side of mine and Sophia’s life separate. Without getting into the truth of the real reasons why. It is bad enough that my friends drop to the wayside without having parents of your child’s friends encouraging the same behaviour. Like I said it is unrealistic to say move on in BC land.

Sophia did a lovely painting that will be on display in the Big C hospital along with pieces I have done. She walked away from the project excited because next month there is a different project that she can become involved in as well.

Slowly I and my daughter are filling our diary with various activities that can be shared experiences. On Monday there is the ‘In Time’ Premiere with Justin Timberlake possibly attending. It will mean a mad rush to catch the tube to Central London, but she likes the excitement of getting there. And she is a Justin Timberlake fan, so I will be filming her reaction.



Update

Dilemma is not the word, forgotten more like. In the two words 'move on' really is 'switch off' because of the irritation you feel or anger to the situation. If BC patients are not careful you can become a puppet to a machine of raising awareness and cash in various areas which can flow into pockets rather than the aim set out. At the modelling event they had an MP who was handed a plaque. To me you might as well throw the plaque on the flames of invisibility because it will be down to the patients to achieve.  Mean time the MP will be there to swallow any attention the new centre could achieve to make sure his job is secure. I have seen it time and time again the sympathy vote which no BC patient wants for political gain.

The real ism' is acceptance, Acceptance towards the visual change, but also the mental attitude you develop which was not there before which could go either way. I saw one of the other models who were convinced to do the modelling when really she was not ready. It was to bring a mix into the cultural pot of BC land. She was Asian and was not ready to do such an event. Yet she had been pressurised into feeling it was the right thing to do. Now she could of easily walk away and decided no it was not for her, but the realisation of what she was about to undertake only hit home when she was in the room. I told her do not do the underwear piece if you are not comfortable. The gowns that we were to wear were post op surgical white gowns. They were not flattering just a reminder of what we had done. If I had organised the event I would have gone to Primark and they sell lingerie gowns at £6.99 and I would have bought five.  The make-up company used were selling their products at this small event as well as preparing our faces. Question why could they not have prepare sampler bags for the models? There were things I picked up throughout which could have improved a BC patient’s experience. I know I could get involved and improve what they had set out, so the next event is more focused on what is in front rather than flash backs of the past. Yes we laughed about the unflattering gowns, but to me that should not have even been there.

Monday, 24 October 2011

W.E. Premiere and a Needle Aspiration OUCHHHH!


Yesterday I went to the premiere of W.E. and lucky to be given a ticket to go inside. To be perfectly honest I thought the movie was very, very, good. The hype that she was heckled by fans was utter crap. She was heckled by the dealers of autographs, and she was advised by security to keep a distant because of a possible crush on fans. The dealers were doing a run to try gain Madonna’s autograph. A run is when they dash the line at the back of people pushing forward to gain as many autographs as possible, but Madonna decided not to sign and they responded by heckling. The bit the media don’t tell you is the value of that particular signature which can be £300 plus. Not only that but you had the ‘Tin, Tin’ premiere on the same day. The autograph dealers were split between gaining Spielberg or Madonna. Spielberg did not turn up at his premiere so the spillage of dealers zoomed in on Madonna. I saw arguments and fans being driven away because they felt threatened by the dealers. I decided to not bring Sophia to this premiere because I knew it was going to turn nasty. It also gave me time just to relax before the hospital appointment the following day.



My appointment at the hospital went really well and I’m just waiting on the results. I managed to grit my teeth through the mammogram and swear at a needle aspiration. My friendly lump was a cyst, but the little beggar is no more. They told me not to get excited and wait on the medical panel, but they feel the problem has been resolved.

So what next, well I have a modelling assignment for Friday for Breast Cancer Research and a demo for a TV show. Plus tomorrow I have a Premiere ‘Anonymous’ to attend with Sophia. I had to turn down a plane passenger advert down yesterday which miffed me off because cash is cash. Plus I have an art project for me and Sophia to attend on Saturday. So my week is full and hopefully next week will be just as busy.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

WishFul Thinking or Pro Active Patient!!!


There is no wrong or right way in dealing with BC, just what you think is right for you. So when I read a post about wishful thinking I ask one question.

What’s really wrong in wishful thinking where treatment is concerned?

Susan M Love says wishful thinking is not always the best course of action, but as a patient whilst I understand her statement I disagree slightly. Wishful thinking is being involved in ones treatment or showing an active approach to your health and well being. The one thing a BC survivor talks about is the feeling of being lost, that they are no longer in control.

Yes we discuss our treatments and medications, but every step that is taken is wishful thinking that point is clear. The oncologist does not know how one person will fair to the next person with treatment. It all boils down to wishful thinking or should I say being pro active on their part to our treatment. After all we all want or wish the nightmare of BC to end.

Susan put her point about having healthy breast tissue being removed whilst the risk of leaving small amounts of breast tissue behind is still leaving the risk of BC there. Her post says the science of BC is not being addressed just a very scared individual looking for a quick solution. But these women know that small amounts of breast tissue can remain, but to them it is being pro active not wishful thinking. In the UK currently there is an ongoing argument on medication and the expense to the NHS. These drugs are seen as wishful thinking, but to me it is hope. Yet their arugment is you are just prolonging the obvious outcome.i.e. the treatment is not a cure.

On Monday I go for an Ultra sound and Mammogram is this wishful thinking or pro active? Because I could easily stay at home and not bother. It would save the NHS money and me spend those extra hours with my daughter rather than face the stress.

What I am trying to say is wishful thinking is all a cancer patient has on this road to try and prevent it’s return. To discourage a person from being pro active which is what wishful thinking is to me is wrong. I don’t believe in the carrot a day rule or swallowing a handful of fresh blackberries off a bush, but there is something that is amiss. Why else would we be in this predicament? and to say on the end paragraph Breast cancer is not necessarily an emergency and we have time. Say that to the multi corporation drug suppliers because it is them that controls the prices, which in turn controls the treatment I may receive.
Wishful thinking is also the pound/dollar sign that plays a strong part in our treatment. I.E. The Cure!!!!!!

Friday, 14 October 2011

Rebel of a Lymph Node....

Doodle Dandy
There is never a dull moment in cancer land. Today I spent two hours in hospital because a lump in my armpit needed to be checked out. It has been there for some time now, but it had decided to get a little bit bigger. So after I got my husband to check the lump was there and it was not me on the hypochondria train. I booked an appointment to visit the breast clinic for today. Was I nervous yes because I have never had a lump before now? Once the clinic had a good grope of both breasts and then examined my armpit on the right side they agreed it was better to air on the side of caution. My reply to the registrar was, ‘So I’m not a nuttier then?’ he smiled and said, ‘No you are not a nuttier.’  This made me feel better because I’d been playing with my mischievous lymph node for three months. I replied and I thought I had found a tinny friend in my armpit, but it turns out its not quite a friend. He laughed at my humorous comment and I was booked in to have an ultra sound of my breast and the lymph, along with a full blood works as routine.

My right breast wants to remain a rebel after losing its partner in crime and to be honest I don’t blame it. Poor buggar has been squished and jabbed even bits taken away, so no wonder it has a strop on and now my lymph wants to join in the fun and games. The thing is at least it is being dealt with minus the constant pain from the last lot of examinations I endured on this breast in January.

Tomorrow I am meeting up with a group of Maggie friends for another art class at a different hospital, so I am not dwelling on the outcome of today’s events. In fact I am finding a new way to distract me from the fog of cancer land and that is art therapy.  

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Oh, My Moaning Tree....



The other day I went to Hyde Park and I wondered threw its endless weaving paths. I had a bag of stale bread and I was heading for the octagon by Kensington palace. Before I reached my destination I took a short cut across the green and I came across what I call a moaning tree. I chuckled at its expression and tried to imagine if this old tree could talk what stories would it reveal, maybe the odd romance amongst royal staff with an affair or two.

This tree stood out from all the rest and seemed to have a personality despite the damage it has received through the years, but the damage has given the tree the character I see and I walk around the tree asking myself, why is life so focused hard on perfection? That maybe my past arrogance is being rewarded with the scars that are hidden from view.

I have tried to avoid the pink confetti of breast cancer month this year, but no matter where I go the reminder is there. I mean Kylie Minogue received an honorary degree this month and to be honest I was annoyed at the commotion she received. It had been perfectly timed for breast cancer awareness month. Kylie is a celebrity with a PR team supporting and advising her on every move, but to me there are plenty women out there who deserve the same recognition. The women I speak of do not have the luxury of advisors. They sit at a computer night after night sifting through information and sharing it out as best they can. Their tireless efforts are rewarded with a thank you not a piece of paper with a title.    

Before I was diagnosed with breast cancer I actually was not aware of the bureaucracy that surrounded October. Each year post diagnosis the only day that was of importance was the 31st  due to the work I was involved with. Yes I did my bit and bought the badges or slipped the odd pound into a collection box, but I personally was ignorant to breast cancer and its red tape. We give small tokens hoping in some way that ignorance will be a blessing and cancer will not darken our door. So two years on from diagnosis, and my perception of breast cancer has changed, but is it for the better?

My frustration of the conveyor belt I am on is only an echo of what others feel. I am trying to make sense of memories past that are now starting to fade. Yet the daunting shadow does not fade like the scars that remain. I feel my concerns are not solely expressed by me alone either. Many past conversations I have had have left questions unanswered. The only issue I have with my moaning tree is if that moaning tree grows amongst other trees that don’t bare the scars it can be easily hidden away.


‘We walk into the unknown with every foot step we take. Please understand breast cancer is not just October it is a reality for some every single waking day. Be breast aware!’

Sunday, 2 October 2011

The Filming of Culture Shock



I have had the most exciting two days of my life. Filming for the movie scenes I am in started Friday and yes I was nervous about it. When Steve Balderson says he films as he sees it he is right. The man is a director after my own heart; he and the cast were absolutely brilliant. The set was relaxed with easy simple instructions with laughter and adrenaline fuelled action scenes. The movie itself is an action movie not like any other Balderson movie, but still an indie movie with its simplicity. I cannot go into the Culture Shock storyline too much because it has yet to be finished and edited. It was a closed set with strict instructions to all cast members, but I would love to do it all again without a doubt. My scenes if not edited and thrown on the editing floor will surprise the doubters. I did it, I over came the doubt and proved I can act and bloody good too by all the comments that came from other cast members that were watching on. I asked the right question to the director and he guided me with a simple yes or no and he said for me to go for it so I did. I wish I could discuss the details so you could understand my excitement. But the movie is both serious, funny and kickass action which everyone must see. It was well written with the perfect cast picked even without me in it. All my worries had drifted away and Sarah is back with a fresh look on life, and yes I want to do it again and again and again.  BRING IT ON !!!!!!!

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Me and Sophia Melancholia Premiere






John Hurt
I and Sophia had a fabulous evening out in central London. It was so warm out there was no way I was going to waste it. We headed for a small premiere event in Mayfair first ‘Melancholia’ starring Kirsten Dunst. We were not there long when Simon Pegg arrived with John Hurt and Kirsten Dunst. We managed to collect all three autographs which Sophia was over the moon about. She had a lovely chat with John Hurt telling him how she had waited ages at the ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’ premiere and he did not sign her book. John Hurt said well this time you have it and he petted her on the head. My daughters’ collection of autographs is now worth a tidy sum of money, but to me it has given us a hobby with lots of fun memories which she did not have before.

After the premiere we headed for a Chinese bar on New Oxford St a few doors down from Tottenham Court tube station. We chatted about school and the autographs she has added to her collection. Sophia loves chatting to these strange people who sign her book. She does not know who they are or really what they do, but I explain to Sophia and show her pictures on the internet so she knows. After eating our Chinese meal I get Sophia an ice cream from MacDonald’s to have on the tube back.  

Monday, 26 September 2011

Life and a Very Bitter Individual


The other day my husband informed me I had punched him on the nose when he tried to pull the duvet which was wrapped around me. I hope this does not become a regular occurrance because I could be done for battery. I cannot remember punching him or the dream in question. I laughed out load when he told me, he even managed to laugh himself.
This Wednesday gone I met the director Steve Balderson in person for the movie I’m in, sweet man like a cuddly giant with a very soft American accent. I’m also still going to premieres collecting autographs sad I know, but someone has to do it. Underneath it all I should be happy at what I have achieved, but there is still something missing.
All my husband is doing is pacifying me or pushing me along. He informed me his sister was coming round and could I do a batch of Doubles. There was no but baby can you or kiss on the cheek. Just Sarah can you do a batch of doubles in a quiet deep tone.

When his sister arrived it was the usual bantering between brother and sister. That I encourage, but then once she had eaten and spoke on the phone the conversation took a turn for the worst. She sat with her back straight opened up her zip front top and said look double DD’s. Humour or no humour I glared at her with total disgust. My husband had sprawled out on the sofa watching TV and said a long drawn out what? I instantly replied your sister is attempting to be a bitch once again and sadly falling short of the mark. But hey we all can’t be like her with her double DD’s can we. Steve’s eyes went to the back of his head with zero response. He knew his sister was wrong and this time he should of asked questions rather than it slip by.

She went into talking about how she needs a man to be satisfied. I turned off and ignored because her words have no interest to me. Then as she yapped on all I kept thinking was you are a sad individual. Sad to think you have to stoop so low. And sad because the scar that runs across your face cannot be hidden. So why be so damned nasty?
At the end of the day the same judgement she insinuated about men not liking implants. She faces every day in a mirror staring right back at her. A scar she received when small runs deep across her nose down onto her lip and this cannot be hidden. Black skin scars so badly and when she got this scar there was not the plastic surgeons there are now. Maybe this is why she is such a bitter person and obsessed with image and what people think. I feel like turning the tables somehow saying well hey look at my face, but then I would be no different to her. The facts that her father had said quite a bit about her upbringing actually made me pity her. An individual whose sole purpose is to cause distress to another is a very bitter person. At least I can sit back and say I have never and never will stoop to those depths. Whether it is me being over sensitive to the conversation.

Monday, 19 September 2011

My Laughter Button!!!!


When things start to get you down it could be the tedious appointments or just the nagging aches and pains. The one thing I rely on is sadistic humour or sarcasm. It makes people realise hey if I can still smile and do what I do without interruption, then so can you.

Like when my husband the other day turned to me and said, he was bruised between his legs ( Sorry, visual turn off, TMI) from riding a bike. My reply was what do you expect you’re forty one and you haven’t ridden a bike for years and how do you think a woman feels after having sex. Where do you think the term saddle walk came from or saddle bag fanny. (Yes it is from riding a horse, but I’m enjoying every moment of this.) You could always buy a bike and jump back on the saddle and wear it  back in. My husband gives me a glare and I say try having a hot bath then. That is what they normally advise women to do after giving birth. Then I return to doing the household chores whilst getting the odd glimpse of him struggling with the pain, which brings a devilish smile on my face.

No doubt he will be returning to his work place today with load moans and groans to get the attention he requires being a man and all. But sorry he will get zero comfort from his wife because I am still walking his daughter to school and back with my sciatic nerve trapped. Yes it is my choice to walk, but his is self inflicted by acting out his return to youthful vigour, and I did encourage the stupid fool just so I could have a giggle at his expense. I already know what my next move will be, frozen peas with a wicked glint of satisfaction. He did not fall for that move though shame, shame.

The things that I find humorous currently are at my husbands’ expense, come to think of it at any mans expense. Yet with this journey I must have some fun, it’s just gone a little darker than usual, even sadistic at times, but don’t judge me he deserves it.

How much humour, sarcasm/ positivity can I create on my blog before people realise that my humour isn’t so straight forward. Besides no-one can be happy twenty four plus, but I do have a laughter release button. My husband.....  



GEOGRAPHY OF A WOMAN

Between 18 and 22, a woman is like Africa - half discovered, half wild, fertile and naturally beautiful!
Between 23 and 30, a woman is like Europe -well-developed and open to trade, especially for something of real value.
Between 31 and 35, a woman is like Spain - very hot, relaxed, and convinced of her own beauty.
Between 36 and 40, a woman is like Greece & gently aging, but still a warm and desirable place to visit.
Between 41 and 50, a woman is like Great Britain, with a glorious and all-conquering past.
Between 51 and 60, a woman is like Israel - has been through war, doesn't make the same mistakes twice, and takes care of business.
Between 61 and 70, a woman is like Canada - cool, self-preserving, but open to meeting new people.
After 70, she becomes Tibet - wildly beautiful, with a mysterious past and the wisdom of the ages.... an adventurous spirit and a thirst for spiritual knowledge.

THE GEOGRAPHY OF A MAN

Between 1 and 80, a man is like Iran - ruled by a couple of nuts

THE END.

Sunday, 18 September 2011

Your Being Pro-active not Nagging!


My appointment at the hospital went well, but my GP made an error. Really I should have been sent for a MRI because it is not a hip problem. On arriving at the hospital I bumped into the radiologist nurse who has done my mammograms and was on her break. We wondered through the hospital to the x ray department chatting about my treatment. I mentioned the last registrar I saw was going to discharge me from the hospital and treatment. She was in shock and wanted to know his name. The nurse has seen me enough times to realise that I am not one to over react or be discharged. I told her I corrected him straight away, but I noted he had not really taken the time to even read my notes. If he had he would know I could not be discharged from clinic less than two years into treatment. I said that I would have run for the go free card if I knew I could monitor the situation myself, but even I am not that foolish.


The radiologist nurse with her bright smile said next time go up to the clinic and request to see Miss S even have it written on my notes so every appointment from now on my appointments are with her. I did not realise I could do this because she is the top consultant of oncology department and others in a more serious situation may need that time slot. The nurse assured me that Miss S would love to see me anyway because I tell her what is wrong rather than worry about details. It makes her job a lot easier just like how I kept on top of my right breast. Although I felt like people were seeing me as being over active. In the department the talk was totally different on my part she explained. They want to catch any cancer question marks as soon as possible. So by me telling them about changes to them is not being a nuisance it is actually being seen as being pro active towards my treatment and any possible further diagnoses.

Then the conversation moved onto why I was here now. I went into detail about my left leg and even she said it could be the sciatic nerve. It is such a common complaint seen in the hospital. She had her hands on her hips with disappointed eyes when I mentioned I’d been trying to solve it myself rather than be in hospital yet again. Then she explained that really I should have come straight away to have it checked. I agreed with a cheeky smile, but I feel I’m spending too much time in hospitals of late with minor grumbles. She straight away snapped and said Sarah what you have gone through is not minor and taking into account how quick it was caught was a miracle. To her being pro active over my health is seen as looking out for one’s own health interests never mind what others think.


We leave each other outside the ultra sound department and I am greeted with a message on the board. Apparently I am supposed to use the phone and call an extension number to inform the department I am here. There is no secretary the department is silent. The message says use the phone on the wall and there is no phone only the one on the reception desk. I walk over to a door that says staff only and knock on it. My favourite radiologist nurse pops her head out with what’s up Sarah? I pointed to the phone on the desk asking if that is supposed to be the wall phone she smiled. Yes she replied and she laughed at the message written. Don’t you think it should say desk rather than wall? I ask. She said ignore just tap in the extension number and someone should answer. Then she said cut backs don’t help means we can’t afford a secretary and with a smile she goes back into the staff room.

   
I am alone with my daughter at this appointment like all the rest really. My husband has gone on a one day bike ride in Wale’s. Something tells me he will be complaining in the morning about every ache and the fact he has not ridden a bike in years, but will I be sympathising to self infliction, nope.


I and my daughter are taken to a seating area in another part of the x ray department. I had brought some snacks to keep her occupied whilst we waited.  It did not take long before I’m laid on the bed and the gel is on my hip. The ultra sound man was brilliant he was a northerner. He talked to me whilst he took images of my hip and asked a few questions. He was surprised about my cancer journey, but also queried why I was having an ultra sound. To him it sounded like I had sciatica problem and really only a MRI of the back would pick that up. I shrugged my shoulders and said well my GP thought yet another x ray was not called for. He disagreed but still checked bother my hips as a comparison which he said was clear of any lesions or swelling. He said he was going to advise my GP to refer me for a MRI and physiotherapy. I asked if there was any way I could sort the issue myself and he said not really. I replied that’s it I’m in the knackers yard there is no going back now. He smiled at my stance on the whole situation. He tried to explain that the MRI was important to rule out any lesions. I calmly cut through what he was saying and said once upon a time you would have said lesion and I would not know what you were trying to say, just like calcification. Then I smiled and winked, but you know what it ain’t, it is just old age and a stubborn bloody nerve this time.  So I hear what you are telling me, I will visit my GP and request an MRI just to be thorough. Meantime I need to find a nice gent who can give me a hot massage and manipulate my joints a little me thinks and smiled.  Hey I got to be positive on this one...  and I left the room. Right Sophia lets go shopping and see what we can find and she smiles. Can I have a ice cream? because I was good

Friday, 16 September 2011

Beggars cannot be choosers can they?

I have realised an annoying fact of having the curse of cancer lurking, or if I word it another way being in the so called cancer survivor box. Every ailment or pain people begin to believe you are actually trying to say you have cancer again. People just want to say shut up, move on, but some dare not just in case they are wrong. And being left with the guilt of being wrong is the worst feeling trust me. You are put in a position do you talk openly about it or stay quiet. If I had not gone through breast cancer I would be entitled to have a grumble, so why can’t I now?
On a previous post I mention my hip because the psychological effect cancer can have on the person in question not out of pity or fear of return. You need to switch off, you want to switch off, but you cannot. And the truth is you do not want to become too complacent over something that could actually be more than minor. This I have been made aware of because I have been told if you think you have a problem go to your GP, but I did not walk into that GP office saying, hey I think I have cancer again? Even if there is a shadow lurking. In fact like normal we went through the list of possible and he said ok ultra sound then we can of a base to work from i.e. pain management.
When I had my cervical cancer scare I never actually made a big deal. The yearly smear test I never once said, ‘Oh Fuck it might be back’ it did not even enter my mind. I ask myself why? Why at the tender age of twenty six did I not panic? The only concern I had was that I might not have a natural birth because of the scarring to the cervix. The doctor had sat me down and explained that it can prevent a natural birth, but my reply was hey I did not have it with the first and she maybe my one and only child. The years went by and my cervical cancer scare became a distant memory. I honestly believed I would never have another child. Life went on and the only time I mention my little operation is when the paperwork wanted past history. Just like when I had the mole removed off my back. It was only when the plastic surgeon queried why I had the scar and I had to think before answering. So I did not spend my time thinking hey I have skin cancer either. I had moved on...
So why am I panicking about breast cancer? What is so different about cervical cancer, skin cancer, and now breast cancer? MEDIA that’s what! When Jade Goody passed away from cervical cancer the media was there to talk about her every move. It brought the reality of a female cancer to the media attention. This in turn made young women realise the importance of that cervical smear. Until then it was never taken serious and young girls were missing a very important test. The fact a young women in the media eye had cervical cancer switched a profit light on with the media. Then once the media scrum died with Jade Goody on her journey with cervical cancer it left a gap. Why? Because without Jade Goody plastered across the papers there was no profit to be made.  
Women are still dying from this cancer along with other cancers yet it is not as pinked as breast cancer. Why? Breast cancer affects men also, so why not have pink with blue poker dots? It is just an observation, ridiculous but true, but why not?
Breasts sell with the female form, but no-one wants to see the reality of having breast cancer and when you feel shit whether it be a man or woman. No-one wants that image in the media because it is depressing and not appealing, but at the same time we are not celebs. We want a smiley face just like my modelling photo’s with a positive note. Even Jade Goody faced the wrath of people who felt it was not right to see her in her last moments of life. That it should be private not plastered across papers or on television, but it made money and viewing figures.
My cancers X3 were very real to me and all have left their scars, but the media and its influence on how we see these cancers, and how we should inform about cancer are creating confusion and with me some anger. I want cancer as a whole taken seriously. No type of cancer should have less importance than another. They all can shorten your life expectancy... That is the truth not a negative, it’s a fact.
When an individual questions or even discusses their journey in a negative light it is seen as being selfish. Anyone can read my blog and be left with more questions than answers, or believe I do not want to move forward in some way. My hip is a classical symptom of the negative smoke screen.  I am hoping it is nothing but Sciatica like a person described to me today, but even sciatica needs a trigger. Yet until the scan is done I cannot say anything, I am in limbo, but if I did not have breast cancer it would be sciatica wouldn’t it? Why would I even contemplate it being anything to do with cancer? And why would the media without the focus on breasts want to purely concentrate on breast cancer rather than any other cancer?
Confusing to you, well it is for me because I bloody cannot fathom out how I bloody damaged my sciatica nerve, or how the hell I got breast cancer or any other cancer. In fact I would sooner be sipping martinis on a beach without even mentioning cancer, but beggars cannot be bloody choosers can they?

Saturday, 10 September 2011

Therapy and its Benefits


I remember the day of my diagnosis too well the first person I saw was a Macmillan nurse. I did not instantly connect to this woman, but she was there if I needed her. There were numerous calls she checking on me and I chasing my results from biopsies. Yet I remained trapped with the silent tears I cried whilst everyone else slept soundly at home. These tears I know were slowly swallowing me up inside. I was a robot, very automated and underneath it all I was very isolated from my family. The fact my husband instantly shot me down when I wanted to talk added to my confused state of mind.

Then out of all that darkness was one piece of advice which was a saving grace. Why don’t you visit The Maggie Centre. Although I’m very relaxed about talking I was not sure I would be able to relax in this type of atmosphere. Maggie’s and its home from home set up is a place where you can do exactly that i.e RELAX. It is a retreat, a place where you can chat or simply sit silently and listen. They offer advice on benefits and finding a route where the stress is eased financially as well a range of therapies. It is all PVT and without the burden of cost attached.

My first visit I found myself chatting with the organiser of the centre. Who advised me to try the massage to help me relax? I was nervous and not really sure if I would return after our little chat, but I did. At first I did not want to take up their time especially when someone else needed it more. So I only went to the centre when I had an appointment with my Plastic Surgeon Mr H.

Then one of the other visitors to the centre told me about a therapy that would appeal to me. Art Therapy... It concentrates on relaxation and you could choose whatever you want to do. You do not have to be Van Gogh to join. This was my type of therapy with no restrictions. You just turn up and find a seat whether it be in the group or sat on your own.

Now I have made this my diary must for every Friday morning when my young daughter is at school. Even when I get a phone call from a friend to go for a coffee I instantly say no. My friend did find it amusing when I said I was going to art therapy classes. But I am not going to shy away from something that relaxes me.

Therapy is not all talk; it is about finding a comfort zone where you feel relaxed with the stess minimised. The Maggie Cancer Caring Centres cater for those who are lost in treatment and appointments that seem never ending. They act like a hand coming out of a fog that is so dense to start with it over whelms you. It is about you making sense of the situation and finding a smile or even laughter amongst friends. It also welcomes family members and friends who act as carers. It is a crying shame that only seven of these centres are complete and running in the UK. I think it is about time the goverment recognises the importance of these centres and the important service they provide to cancer patients. To me more should be done to create more centres like the one I visit.

Check my links page for more information on other services provided for cancer patients.

Thursday, 8 September 2011

The Hidden Reflection of Cancer



We adapt, we paint a pretty picture of good health. That somehow the conveyer belt is an easy transition, but it isn’t. To me I see myself as a false representation of breast cancer, and the survivorship convoy of people. Why do I say this?
The other day an individual approached me and asked how I was. I said I was fine, but underneath really I am not fine because of the pain in my hip. The pain is now reaching down my left leg into my shin bone, but I am determined not to change my routine. She admired my tenacity to continue as normal rather than dwell on yet another health problem. My reply was I’m a Yorkshire woman with attitude my body is not going to rule me.
Then the subject was moved onto my mastectomy and cancer. She said on the outside you would not have known that I had gone through breast cancer. Part of me wanted to question what she had just said with, well what does breast cancer look like? Instead I looked at her direct with a very serious face. That’s because I am a false representation of breast cancer and its treatment. I have held onto to my smile on the outside leaving my tears and torment locked away from view, so how was this woman suppose to see the reality of this disease. This was my way of dealing with my particular cancer and each individual is different just like the treatment we all receive. I keep repeating to people, but I am not on the same treatment of course my behaviour and appearance is different. This to me is like a guilty noose around my neck. My truth and their truth is far from the reflection this individual wants to see.
Words come easy when you hit the emotional switch off button. We all want a positive to evolve from a negative situation. People often talk about the affects of guilt especially when you become a part of special community. That the door to cancer once opened will not remain closed.
But whilst individuals brave the storm and are willing to tell their experience of cancer then innocent observations should not be hidden. The freedom to express and the internet has given individuals a voice. This voice means if you type in the right words or ask the right questions you will find someone affected by cancer. These people reveal the raw truth of their journey with cancer. So my reflection of my journey is very different and I hope it remains that way.  Minus the appointments my treatment now is about vanity and a sense of closure. So yes guilt, everyone feels guilt at some point on the BC convoy.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Breast Cancer isn't a Game!


I understand why this latest game on my FB was developed, but it is creating upset with people who are trying to make sense of the BC journey. People affected by BC can either ignore or join in. I and quite few others though are venting our disgust at this latest titillation on FB.


PVT message I received for the third time:

Ok Pretty Ladies

It's that time of year again in support of Breast cancer Awareness!
We all remember last year’s game of writing your bra colour as your status? or the way we like our handbag handy.

Remember last year so many people took part that it made National News, and the constant updating of status reminded everyone why we're doing this and helped raise awareness!

...Do Not Tell Any males what the status's mean, keep them guessing and please broadcast this to all your female friends to see if we can make a bigger fuss this year than last year.

I did my part...So now it's your turn!

The idea is to choose the month you were born and the day you were born. Pass this on to the girls only and let’s see far it reaches around. The last one about the bra went round the world.

So you'll write...I'm (your birth month) weeks and I'm craving (your birth date)!!! as your status.



Is there method in this madness, well to the individual who created it yes. His or her intentions were to create awareness plus support for BC. But to me it was just not well thought through. Breast cancer survivors that go through a more rigorous treatment than I have faced may not have children.

The other issue I have with this game is the secrecy it generates. We took Breast cancer out of the closet. Why place it back in?

I am personally tired of people acting like my issue has been solved when I know because of the close community I am involved with that is not the case. There are women out there with better diagnoses than myself and BC has returned. That is the scariest heavy load I carry around with me. The knowledge I face could mean I could be back to square one which nearly happened back in January this year. The pain and worry I faced for those several weeks I would not wish on my dearest nearest enemy. My results were clear, but even my oncologist was worried.

I understand we want a fluffy outcome to a very much dome a gloom situation, but BC is not a laughing matter. Whilst a survivor smiles on the outside, we are caged emotionally inside. We are screaming to be heard, but they are silent screams because we are trying not to offend. I read blog, upon blog and I have developed relations with those affected by BC and this journey we are on is very, very lonely.

So I am sorry but these games to me are just not appropriate especially when I am chatting to individuals that are Stage IV and facing the agony of chemo, Rads and meds with no end in sight. That is the reality of BC not this silly game. Please bring back the pink ribbon in its entirety as the true symbol of BC. Not the silly games and pink wigs... We need the reality of Breast Cancer to be taken seriously.


Today I went to my GP and I am being referred for a ultra sound on my hip. I don’t know what I have done, but I have been in pain for over two months now. I delayed seeing my GP because I did not want to return to yet another hospital. I even managed to do the ‘Race for life’ through pure stubbornness, but I have finally faced the fact it won’t just disappear. My fingers are firmly crossed that all will be answered on the examination.

Friday, 2 September 2011

Not all is Postive in Cancer Land!


In the land of free speech and the right to express is the mute button. Some of my fellow cyber bloggers feel very much muted once again. These blogs written by Journeyingbeyondbreastcancer.com guest blogger Coco,uneasypink.com & beingsarahblog.wordpress.com  explains why the echo started and questions its conclusion on Positivity v Negativity on diagnosis and treatment of cancer. It has created a united debate on blog boards by fellow BC comrades. Not all is positive in the land of cancer it can’t be, but the push by media to portray a smiley face is very clearly seen. The efforts to show a positive towards treatment on television/adverts rather than the negative are wearing thin. To engage the public to be pro active in finding cancer sooner rather than later is everywhere. But one idiot decided to do a written piece on how our approach to life can impact on whether we get the disease in the first place, has hit a cord of discontent.


This was my reply to the debate:


No matter which way you look at it Coco, it is the devil you do, the devil you don’t. There are two stereo types meek and tearful, or shout loud and proud which people want to see. Yet what if you are a bit of both and that is not addressed well you’re stuck.
My nurse would say stay positive, but what if the positivity bug is creating a negative bubble. I personally started to ask why? Why can’t people shout, slam, throw their fists in the air if they feel it is needed. Why can’t we discuss the negatives of our treatment loud and proud like the pink brigade that is thrown in our face? Deep down we have all felt anger at varying points of our treatment so why can’t we express it? The truth is the cupboard that was with BC suffers so long ago is still wide open ready to silence the individual that upsets the balance.
I’m not sure who or what I represent in the fuzzy land of BC. Personally I dealt with my situation by filling my life with options. I just did not want cancer to claim me or change me. I did not want my young daughter to see me wither away over something I have no control over. Positivity or negativity to me or just decisions we make. Wrong or right if you feel you need to scream then to me bloody scream loud and hard, but the positivity brigade will ask, and what did that achieve?

Well it made me feel better... and not just another positive statistic sat on the sidelines following an intimidating representation of what BC suffers should be... We are born to question and not to just sit on the mute button. Even though our representation of the BC Land does not fit the jigsaw that is very much media controlled.

There are no wrongs or rights in this debate only a group of very rightfully angry ladies who are trying to make sense of their treatment, but again the right to show the true nature of cancer is very much being controlled. More and more females thanks to the bloggers sphere are shouting ‘No this is not my representation of cancer. WE honestly feel let down and wish that people would open their eyes to the reality of this disease’.


Common sentences used:
You talk about cancer too much.
Don’t you think you should focus on a positive rather than be negative?
Why are you negative all the time?
You need to get a life.
You’re not the only one affected by cancer.
If others can move on surely you can.
I’m sorry!

This list could keep going on and on. To me thank the Lord for the Cyber city we are building because now we do not have to feel we are the only ones with the same feelings. It is not peaches and roses and things do go wrong in the land of cancer. A lot more than we dare to admit! This is not a negative, but reality...

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

I am Not Selfish, I Just Know Wrong From Right!

The only time I have found peace is when I have withdrawn myself into a celibate life style. It was me in control pulling the strings with none of the drama of having a man intrude on my personal space. When I married my now husband I did not see the wave I was surfing on. Nor the baggage that was in the way that would create an extra burden.


A friend asked me, Sarah why remain in a situation when you are being punished for being you. I replied well I just can’t keep running away. Her reply but there is no running involved because you have become a  egg in a bubbling pan that has been placed on a high flame. To her I did not deserve any of what I have gone through or the stress my husband was adding. I had gone to my husband literally looking for answers and he has kept me on a long boil. The only problem with this is what happens when the water runs out? What top it up and boil some more or will the egg be too damaged to continue? I believed in heart of hearts Daddies visit could of built a bridge of hope, but no.

I tend to blame me for being me and look for forgiveness when really there is no forgiveness involved. The real issues within our relationship will never be addressed if both sides do not face their mistakes and move on. Being held to emotional ransom as punishment is very cold, in fact it is dangerous.

My verbal lash outs and behaviour he says he has to find away, if he can, too forgive. He speaks like all the issues are with me and how my selfish behaviour has put our relationship in this dark space. This I find an insult not only to my intelligence, but to my whole being. When I go into a relationship I concentrate solely on an individual. Do not get me wrong I still find a percentage of my time to continue what I am trying to achieve. Only a fool would shut themselves totally down from reality and concentrate on one person. Is that the selfish bit he is complaining about? My friends burst out laughing when I told them his excuse for me being shut out. To them I have been more than accommodating to his needs and he should not throw such large stones without the full impact of his behaviour being addressed too. To get a true image of the why’s and what for’s the full story must be in place. And four years of stress can cloud one’s mind with questions that now are not relevant. To them if I had neglected Sophia’s needs then fine or had a affair sure it explain a lot, but his replies are both selfish and manipulative to validate his behaviour in desperation to hide the facts. Not once has he taken responsibility only issued orders which only suited him. It is only natural for an individual who has had her independence to rebel and go her own way. This trait of my personality was never hidden from view.

The only time I say enough is enough is when my back is up against wall. I have put 100% into trying to make my marriage work, but every marriage faces a glitch or clash especially when someone’s attention is diverted elsewhere.

But should I be punished or shunted into a false sense of security?
I have had a whole year of no physical contact from my husband. Not a romantic kiss. Touch or caress. We talk; we smile, but zero passion. The torture of lying next to someone that shows no mercy is worse than being punched. The mental strain it places me under is unbearable at times, but you begin to find a routine to block the pain out. It is only when something reminds you of what you should have that the tears of frustration want to flow.

I have had two years of torment at the hands of the big C. Why should I be punished any further? How much should the screams in my pit of my stomach be muffled for his comfort? How long should I crawl?  Does that sound like a selfish woman? I want the truth, but his truth and my truth do not mix. All I can do is keep moving forward and forge my own path because I have too for my young daughter and my well-being. This is not selfish behaviour it is the survival instinct of a woman who has been crucified for what she believes is right.